MoneyGram Review: Is it safe? How does it work? What are the rates?
How can you use MoneyGram to send money abroad? Is their service reliable? Can you trust MoneyGram with your money? How good are their fees and exchange rates?
Our independent review of MoneyGram
MoneyGram is the second-largest money transfer company in the world (after Western Union), allowing people to send and receive cash within minutes in over 350,000 agent locations across over 200 countries and territories. You can also send money on MoneyGram.com in over 20 countries or through the MoneyGram mobile app, using a debit card, credit card or bank account (US only, or in Canada via Interac online). In certain countries, your money transfer can be deposited to your recipient’s bank account, mobile wallet or prepaid card; or delivered in cash directly to your recipient’s home.
The company’s large network of agent locations and its availability both online and offline make it a highly convenient service which covers the needs of most people. Its size and long track record also guarantee that your money is safe when sending it with MoneyGram. The downside is that sending MoneyGram can be expensive, as the service can have higher fees and poorer exchange rates than those of specialized online providers.
What we like about MoneyGram
Large network of agent locations in the world, allowing cash to be sent and received in 200 countries
Flexible: Money transfers can be received in cash but also in bank accounts and on mobile wallets
Most transactions settle instantly, which makes MoneyGram a good choice for urgent transfers
What we dislike about MoneyGram
Outside the US and Canada, you can only pay with a debit or credit card, or in cash at an agent location.
More expensive than specialized online providers on average
Highly variable fees
Compare Monyegram's fees and exchange rates
How to send money online with MoneyGram
Open an account
Visit MoneyGram's website and open a free account
Enter the details about your recipient
Tell MoneyGram where you need to send money and to whom.
Set-up your transfer with MoneyGram
Enter how much money you want to send and how you want to pay for your transfer.
Pay for your transfer
Fund your transfer (options vary depending on the country you are sending money from).
MoneyGram does the rest
MoneyGram converts your money to the recipient's currency and sends it via the selected pay-out option.
Moneygram Fees & Exchange Rates
MoneyGram is rarely the cheapest option
This indicator is based on the percentage of searches on Monito for which %PSP% is the cheapest provider
MoneyGram is generally not the most competitive option
This indicator is based on the percentage of comparisons on Monito in which %PSP% offers a competitive pricing (taking into account the pay-in and pay-out options as well as the amount).
MoneyGram doesn't offer special promotions to Monito users
Monito cannot access real-time pricing information from MoneyGram
The points above are added to calculate the "Moneygram Fees & Exchange Rates" score of MoneyGram, who scores 1.2 points on a maximum of 10 points.
MoneyGram fees generally vary depending on the amount sent, the send and receive countries, as well as the payment and receive methods. Here how you can save on fees with MoneyGram:
- When sending money online with MoneyGram, it’s best to pay by bank transfer if this is available.
- Sending to a bank account is usually less expensive than sending money for cash pick-up.
- If you are sending money to a bank account, it is often cheaper to send at an agent location than online, regardless of the payment method used. Still, fees at agent locations can also vary depending on which location you choose.
- If you are sending money for cash pick-up, the online service will generally be cheaper than sending money at an agent location, but only if you pay by bank transfer.
MoneyGram exchange rates
MoneyGram applies the standard practice of taking a margin on the exchange rate. What that means is that the exchange rate offered to MoneyGram customers is not as good as the real mid-market exchange rate, and MoneyGram profits from this difference. While this generally costs you a couple percentage points of the amount you are sending, the amount you will pay above the mid-market exchange rate can occasionally exceed 5%. Since some money transfer services are able to offer exchange rates without any margin and save you plenty of money, it’s very important to always compare all available money transfer services before sending money abroad.
Ease of Use
Very few Monito users going to MoneyGram end up making a transfer with them
MoneyGram's homepage is relatively easy to navigate
Signing up with MoneyGram is more complicated than it should be
Setting up your transfer is more complicated than it should be
It's easy to sign up and make a transfer both on mobile and desktop
The points above are added to calculate the "Ease of Use" score of MoneyGram, who scores 2.8 points on a maximum of 10 points.
Credibility & Security
MoneyGram is fully licensed and authorized
MoneyGram doesn't have many positive customer reviews
A very large number of customers already trust MoneyGram
MoneyGram employs a very large number of employees
MoneyGram has already transferred at least 5 billion USD for their customers
MoneyGram has been mentioned in countless recognized media outlets
MoneyGram isn't part of Monito's network of trusted partners
MoneyGram is a long-established company
MoneyGram reported a minor data breach in the past year (-0.3)
MoneyGram had insignificant legal issues in the past year (-0.5)
The points above are added to calculate the "Credibility & Security" score of MoneyGram, who scores 6.3 points on a maximum of 10 points.
Until 2017, MoneyGram International Inc. was a publicly-traded company on the Nasdaq Stock Market with a $680 million market capitalization. It was then acquired by the Ant Financial Services Group, the payments arm of the Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba. Ant Financial is an enormous company, powering the majority of online payments in China and valued at $60 billion at the time of its acquisition of MoneyGram. Working together as one with Ant Financial will significantly strengthen MoneyGram and its ability to build a robust global corporation.
MoneyGram has over 2500 employees worldwide. With a track record of close to 80 years, the company has acquired and demonstrates a significant expertise in the money transfer industry. MoneyGram has built its reputation through the quality of its service, which provides a convenient and safe way to send money to or from nearly every country in the world. The MoneyGram brand is recognized and trusted globally, thanks in part to its network of agent locations which, apart from Western Union’s, is unmatched by any of its competitors.
MoneyGram is subject to a wide range of laws and regulations of countries around the world. MoneyGram is licensed in all 50 US states, as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. In the UK, MoneyGram is licensed as an Authorized Payment Institution under the European Union Payment Services Directive, which allows MoneyGram to provide payment services throughout the European Economic Area. Many other jurisdictions which MoneyGram operates in impose licensing or other regulatory requirements. These include minimum capital requirements, compliance with operational procedures, agent oversight and maintenance of reserves, and are are specifically designed to protect consumers’ funds. MoneyGram takes its regulatory compliance very seriously, and invest on average $50 million a year into its compliance program.
So, is MoneyGram safe to use? Absolutely. MoneyGram couldn’t be the second largest money transfer provider in the world if it didn’t adequately protect its customers’ funds.
Service & Coverage
MoneyGram allows you to send money from a lot of different countries
MoneyGram allows you to send money to a lot of different countries
MoneyGram is available in many different languages
It is possible to pay for your transfer by local bank transfer
It is possible to pay for your transfer by credit/debit card
MoneyGram doesn't offer additional pay-in options
It is possible to send the money to your recipient's bank account
The money can be delivered to a cash pick-up location
The money can be sent to a mobile phone (airtime top-up or mobile wallet)
MoneyGram has a bill payment service
MoneyGram doesn't offer additional banking features
MoneyGram doesn’t offer a multi-currency debit card
MoneyGram offers guaranteed exchange rates
It is not possible to set up repeating transfers / standing orders
There is no minimum amount (or very low)
There is a maximum amount
The points above are added to calculate the "Service & Coverage" score of MoneyGram, who scores 9 points on a maximum of 10 points.
Additional services offered by MoneyGram
MoneyGram’s bill payment service allows you to pay your relatives’ bills or your own from thousands of companies. The service is available in nearly all agent locations across the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as in certain agent locations in select countries in Europe and the Caribbean.
Money orders were the first service which MoneyGram offered when it was founded in 1940. While the company still offers this service today, it only represents a small share of their business. The service, which is only available at certain agent locations across the US, is basically a prepaid check which you can deliver by mail or in person to the recipient.
MoneyGram lets you top up prepaid mobile phones of more than 350 mobile carriers in over 100 countries around the world. This is a great way to ensure that you and your relatives abroad are able to stay in touch. Mobile top-ups are available at MoneyGram agent locations in the US, but can be sent online from any country in the world.
MoneyGram has a low percentage of excellent customer reviews
MoneyGram has a high percentage of negative customer reviews
MoneyGram has a low number of positive customer reviews
The points above are added to calculate the "Customer satisfaction" score of MoneyGram, who scores 0.3 points on a maximum of 10 points.
Moneygram has very bad reviews on Trustpilot. Over 90% of the over 350 customers who have given their feedback rating the company 1 star out of 5. However, note that MoneyGram's Trustpilot pages are divided up by country--the US page has the largest number of reviews. We also see that MoneyGram responds to negative reviews, which is a positive sign that demonstrates the companies is trying to genuinely help it's customers. Here is what MoneyGram’s customers have to say on the US MoneyGram Trustpilot page:
- Customers liked the fact that the money was available in minutes at the receiving end of the money transfer.
- Some customers have seen their transferred cancelled and had problem to get their money back.
- Negative experiences with customer service-little support or dedicated, personal service.
- Customers had problems using their online service.
- Some were annoyed by the verification process to identify themselves (which Moneygram is required to perform by law).
Note: Moneygram is not inviting its users to share their experience with Trustpilot which could partially explain the extremely high proportion of bad ratings. The rating might not be representative due to the low number of reviews.
The FAQ and help center of MoneyGram are relatively easy to understand
MoneyGram doesn't has any live chat
MoneyGram offers email support (even to noncustomers)
MoneyGram offers phone support (even to noncustomers)
It's very easy to get in contact with MoneyGram
The FAQ and help center are translated in all languages
Monito cannot contact MoneyGram on behalf of our users
The points above are added to calculate the "Customer support" score of MoneyGram, who scores 7 points on a maximum of 10 points.
The exchange rate margin makes up a significant share of the total cost of your transfer
It's more complicated than it should be to understand the fees of MoneyGram
MoneyGram’s exchange rate margin is not properly disclosed
A real-time quote can be obtained without registering
MoneyGram applies the same fees and exchange rates to all customers
It's very difficult for Monito to access the pricing information of MoneyGram
The points above are added to calculate the "Transparency" score of MoneyGram, who scores 3.3 points on a maximum of 10 points.
How to send money at an agent location with MoneyGram*
- Find a MoneyGram agent location near you, and be sure to bring your ID.
- On a kiosk touch screen or paper form, you'll supply your full name, your recipient’s name and location, and the amount you wish to send. Depending on the receive option you choose, you'll also need to provide other information such as your recipient’s bank account details, telephone number or email address.
- Pay for your transfer.
- You'll receive a reference number which your recipient needs to receive the money.
*Note: you can also also start the process via MoneyGram.com or the MoneyGram app and finish in person. You enter the transaction information online/in the app in advance, go to an agent location (again with an ID), pay and complete the transaction.
MoneyGram’s mobile app is available on both Google Android and Apple iOS in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The MoneyGram app lets you send money, track past transactions, estimate fees or find agent locations for future transactions, and manage your account. While the app is rated 3.2 / 5 on the Google Play Store, it is only awarded a 1.9 / 5 rating on the Apple App Store due to issues with money transfers made through the app.
The story behind MoneyGram
MoneyGram International was born out of the merger of Travelers Express from Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Integrated Payment Systems from Denver, Colorado. The former company was founded in 1940, and became the largest processor of money orders (a paper instrument like a cheque but paid upfront) in the world. Integrated Payment Systems, which launched the MoneyGram brand in 1988, was part of a larger group of payment companies belonging to American Express (best known for their credit cards).
In 1998, Travelers Express and Integrated Payment Systems merged, and the resulting company went public in 2004 under the name MoneyGram International.
Why money is one of the top gifts for the holidays
That plaid scarf might look great on your teenage niece who lives in Japan, but what if what she really wants is some new make-up from an obscure local brand you’ve never heard of? Or what if you think your brother-in-law will appreciate a gift card from a popular retailer, but the truth is he’s saving money to buy a house in the New Year and would genuinely prefer some extra money in the bank?
From Cash to Digital - a Checklist to Help You With Your First Transfer With MoneyGram
Need to send money from your bank account for cash pickup? Or maybe you’d prefer to pay with a credit card and enable the recipient to receive the funds in their bank account? When it comes to money transfers, there are many options out there and what you choose depends on several factors including where you are sending money from and to, what your personal preferences are, the method you use to pay for the transfer and how you’d like the recipient to receive the funds.
How MoneyGram Helps Anish Send Money to His Family in India
Sending money is about all about people. One person sends money, another person receives it. Today we’d like to tell you about one person, the people in his life, and why he needs to send money to India.
Anish is originally from Pune, India. His dad, Raj, has been cutting hair for over 40 years and owns his own barber shop, which he inherited from his own father. His mom, Anusha, is a retired schoolteacher. Anish also has a younger sibling–his sister Priya is a university student currently studying in London. Anish’s maternal grandmother is also still alive, and lives with his parents.
More money transfer tips and tricks
- Western Union and MoneyGram often offer 24-hour agent locations in many major cities (plus some smaller-sized locations.They also offer the most extensive network of agent locations: Western Union has 550,000 agent locations in over 20…
- Western Union vs MoneyGram . Which one is the solution for you and your money transfer needs? Which option should you choose if you need to send or receive money internationally? Check out our comparison of the pros and cons of each m…
- Our real-time comparison engine finds the cheapest providers for your transfer to Mexico. You save on fees and exchange rates, and more money arrives.
- TransferWise vs Xoom. Which one is the best for you and your needs? Which is the most affordable option if you need to send or receive money internationally? Check out our analysis of the pros and cons of each money transfer company. …
Why you can trust Monito's reviews
Monito's mission is to help you (and thousands of others each day) find the best providers for your money transfers.
We do that by providing real-time comparison of exchange rates and fees (you can use the form below to make a comparison) and by writting in-depth reviews about money transfer providers.
We have partnerships with many money transfer providers (MoneyGram included), which help us get access to their exchange rate and fees information (which we always check for accuracy). Those partnerships help us support our activity and offer our service for free.
We put a lot of efforts to review money transfer providers like MoneyGram in details and based on objective and verifiable criteria. A good example of that is the in-depth User Experience Benchmark Study we conducted in August 2018.
Compare MoneyGram to 300+ other providers
Questions you may have
Read our guides on sending money abroad
- In August 2018, in partnership with the user-testing platform UserBrain, Monito published a benchmark study of 10 leading money transfer services. You will find the highlights of this study on this page, but download the report to get …
- How can you make the most of your currency exchange when you transfer large sums of money across borders? By finding the right money transfer company for your needs. When making large money transfers there are two key details to consid…
- When it comes to exchanging money, paying for your transfer, understanding exchange rates and more, it’s important to understand what all the details mean. We’ve got you covered, with our complete Monito glossary and guide to the main…
- Each Venmo transfer needs the sender and beneficiary to be physically in the US, so you can’t use it to send money abroad to a friend or family. If you’re looking for the best & cheapest way to send money internationally, you can comp…